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Civil War Series

The Battle of Gettysburg

   

JULY 3, AFTERNOON—THE CAVALRY BATTLES

General Stuart and the three brigades of cavalry that had made the long march to Carlisle reached the Gettysburg area on the afternoon of July 2. One of his brigades, that of Brig. Gen. Wade Hampton, battled a Union brigade at Huntertown northeast of Gettysburg on the afternoon of July 2, but the rest of his force had some much needed rest. On July 3 Lee sent Stuart with four brigades of cavalry off to guard the army's left and to be in a position to exploit a victory that the infantry might gain in its attack on Cemetery Ridge. Stuart met two brigades of Union cavalry commanded by Brig. Gen. David McM. Gregg three miles east of Gettysburg on the Rummel farm near the intersection of the Hanover Road and the Low Dutch Road. In the afternoon there was a slam-bang battle that opened with dismounted skirmishing and ended in mounted charges and counterattacks. It was one of the largest cavalry battles of the war, but it was drawn fight. Yet Stuart had been stymied, and it was Gregg's troopers who held the field at the close of the day. In the meantime, two Union cavalry brigades, those of Brig. Gens. Elon J. Farnsworth and Wesley Merritt, harassed the infantry on the right of the Confederate line. This action climaxed with "Farnsworth's Charge," in front of Little Round Top, a foolish assault ordered by Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick that resulted only in the death of Farnsworth and several of his men.


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JULY 3, 1863, CAVALRY BATTLE
Lee had ordered his cavalry commander, "Jeb" Stuart, to take a position on the left of the army and attempt to gain the rear of the Union army. Union cavalry under General David M. Gregg were alerted to Stuart's movements and engaged him around 3 P.M. three miles east of Gettysburg. Although the action was a drawn affair, Stuart was unable to gain the Union rear and withdrew from the field.

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